Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 2

We’re on day 2 and baby is still surprisingly easy. We had one little rough stretch, between 4 and 5 a.m., when she was hungry and crying, but refused to latch on. It’s the worst feeling in the world to not have milk for your hungry child and to be shoving your nipple in their mouth as they scream. I started to become a little worried that we were in for a rough ride since breastfeeding has been more painful this time around, especially when it stimulates painful uterine cramping. One of the nurses said it produces oxytocin, which is also released during labor, and can feel a lot like being in labor again. This is true, as when she suckles, I find myself panting in pain that radiates from the nipples down to the area she emerged from. But I try to reassure myself this is temporary.

I was able to sooth her to sleep on my chest, where she remained until Mark returned at 7:30. It’s been better since then. I took my first shower, put on something other than a hospital gown for the first time, and ventured out of my room to attend a baby bathing class two doors down. That woman had just pushed out a 9 pound, 6 ounce boy last night. Despite being her fourth child, she described the process of getting him out as “horrible,” so I felt rather lucky in comparison.

I’m going to be discharged today, but I’ve asked to stay until the latest I can – 10 p.m. I know some people can’t wait to get home. I like the quiet of the hospital, the lack of responsibilities, the help available when needed, the room service food. They hold several classes that seem useful. I didn’t feel strong enough to venture out yesterday, especially in the hospital gown that opens in the back to bare my butt, my diaper and my bulging ice pack. But today I’m capable of putting on shorts and a t-shirts and waddling around a bit.

River met his sibling last night and it wasn’t the beautiful introduction I envisioned. Unfortunately, the exciting arrival of his grandparents shortly before his nap meant he didn’t go to sleep and was tired and edgy. He presented his sister with a couple of small toys selected by dad, and seemed enthusiastic about that. And he was excited about the toy she brought for him. But he didn’t show much subsequent interest in the baby, nor did he show a lot of affection towards me. I attribute a lot of that to his lack of a nap, and I’m sure part of it may be stress and anxiety about the changes. Our pediatrician suggested we maintain his normal routine as much as possible and modify the baby’s schedule to fit his. I think that should be feasible.

I’m having a surprisingly difficult time sleeping. The 5 mg Ambien they gave me the first night did nothing. Last night they gave me something equal to double that. When I still wasn’t asleep after 40 minutes, I added another two Tylenol p.m.and that did the trick. Mark however is able to sleep at the drop of a hat. Despite getting a full eight hours last night, he can nap within five minutes. I’m a bit jealous. Luckily, I don’t feel too exhausted yet though, especially during the first half of the day.

I think I’m liking and appreciating the newborn phase more this time around. She’s small and delicate compared to River. It amazes me that her hand was about the same size as the round Oreo 100 calorie cookies I ate a few hours after delivering her – somewhere between the size of a quarter and a silver dollar. Her head is not much larger than my breast. When she’s feeding, I love to see the tiny, perfectly shaped ear, the scrunched eyes, and her full heart-shaped lips, pursed and working hard, instinctively knowing what they need to do to get sustenance.

No one can really figure out who she looks like. When she first came out, I thought she looked like River, but that’s not so much the case upon closer examination. Perhaps she’ll grow into looking like someone in the family. River resembles men on both sides of the family. Who he resembles more can depend on his age or the particular day. Or perhaps she’ll just be her own little unique person. Either way, I’m in love with her already.

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